Jurrien Timber’s debut disaster, a number of impending exits and more Saudi interest… the defensive problems that threaten to ruin Arsenal’s Premier League title charge

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The Gunners have spent this summer preparing for what could be their most important Premier League season in decades.

After coming so close to clinching the top-flight title last year, Mikel Arteta’s men will be hoping to go one further in the 2023-24 campaign. 

During the summer window, the north London side have added the likes of Kai Havertz, Declan Rice and Jurrien Timber to their ranks. 

However, after Timber’s debut disaster – which saw him get injured on his Premier League debut – it could already have derailed their potential title charge.

And so, here, Mail Sport takes a look at the growing defensive problems that could threaten Arsenal’s push for a top-flight trophy. 

Arsenal's new signing - Jurrien Timber - got injured on his Premier League debut on Saturday

See also  ‘Fake news’: Arteta upset over reports he will leave Arsenal this summer – video | Football

Arsenal’s new signing – Jurrien Timber – got injured on his Premier League debut on Saturday

Mikel Arteta's side have been thrown some challenges ahead of their top-flight campaign

Mikel Arteta’s side have been thrown some challenges ahead of their top-flight campaign

TIMBER DOWN AGAINST FOREST 

Though the Gunners introduced fresh faces such as Declan Rice and Kai Havertz to their squad this summer, perhaps the most anticipated arrival was Jurrien Timber’s. 

The versatile defender completed a £40million move from Ajax last month and there were high expectations for the Netherlands international. 

However, that all came crashing down within 50 minutes of their clash with Nottingham Forest after the defender suffered a serious knee injury on Saturday.

Mail Sport were first to reveal on Monday that the Holland international had suffered a serious knee injury amid concerns he would miss months of the season.

Those fears have been realised in the last 48 hours following further tests with a knee specialist.

The versatile defender, who started at left back at the weekend, is set to undergo knee surgery after suffering a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Timber is now set to spend months on the sidelines recuperating from injury just weeks after he joined the club.

Timber is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after his injury against Nottingham Forest

Timber is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after his injury against Nottingham Forest

DEFENSIVE EXITS

On top of Timber’s injury concern, Arsenal’s defensive outgoings could be set to continue before the transfer window comes to an end. 

Full-back Kieran Tierney has fallen down the pecking order since the arrivals of Timber and Zinchenko and could soon be heading out the exit door. 

The former Hull City defender has garnered interest from Spanish side Real Sociedad, according to the Telegraph, who are hoping to sign the Scotland international on loan this summer.

The 26-year-old made just six starts for the Gunners in the Premier League last season and is unlikely to break back into Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans. 

Meanwhile, according to the Metro, Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes could be set for a shock departure from north London this summer. 

The former Lille defender has reportedly been lined-up for a big-money move to the Saudi Arabia Pro League.

However, with the Brazilian playing such a key role in Arsenal’s recent progress, it’s unlikely he’d depart during the summer.

However, if Arteta was set to lose both Tierney and Gabriel – on top of Timber’s injury concern – it could leave Arsenal somewhat short at the back. 

Kieran Tierney

Gabriel Maghalhaes

Kieran Tierney (L) and Gabriel Magalhaes (R) could both be set to leave the club this summer

ZINNY YET TO GET GOING 

To make matters worse, full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to make an appearance in Arsenal’s pre-season tour, Community Shield clash or season opener. 

The former Man City defender was an integral role in Arteta’s side last year and has quickly become a leading figure within the changing room. 

However, the Ukrainian international is yet to feature for the Gunners and, instead, has only played in one game in recent weeks; the Game for Ukraine. 

The full-back played a small cameo in the match despite the fact Arsenal had the Community Shield the following day – which they won anyway. 

If Arteta is to have a strong start to the 2023-24 campaign, it will rely on the full-back getting back to full strength and up to match speed immediately. 

Luckily for the Gunners, the Ukrainian has returned to full training and could be involved in their clash with Crystal Palace. 

Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to make an appearance in pre-season and has remained injured

Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to make an appearance in pre-season and has remained injured

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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